The 18 Best Plants for Cottage Gardens

Violet
These romantic plants are must-haves for a romantic cottage-style garden.

Bellflower

This tough perennial produces spikes of white or blue blooms in early and midsummer. Like most cottage garden plants, the flowers are great for cutting.

Name: Campanula percisifolia

Growing conditions: Full sun or part shade and well-drained soil

Height: To 3 feet tall

Zones: 3-8, depending on variety

Columbine

Easy to grow and beautiful, columbine blooms in spring and early summer. The colorful blooms are loved by hummingbirds and gardeners alike.

Name: Aquilegia varieties

Growing conditions: Part shade and well-drained soil

Height: To 3 feet tall

Zones: 3-9, depending on variety

Coralbells

In spring and early summer, coralbells produce sprays of pink, red, or white flowers. These flowers are a top choice of hummingbirds.

Name: Heuchera varieties

Growing conditions: Part shade and well-drained soil

Height: To 3 feet tall

Zones: 4-8

Daisy

Daisies offer a simplistic beauty that works well in any cottage garden. Their bright white blooms with sunny yellow centers are perfect for beds and borders, as well as vases.

Name: Leucanthemum varieties

Growing conditions: Full sun to part shade and well-drained soil

Height: To 3 feet tall

Zones: 4-8

Dame's Rocket

A beautiful, old-fashioned annual, dame's rocket produces phlox-like clusters of lavender or white flowers in late spring. The flowers are delightfully fragrant.

Name: Hesperis matronalis

Growing conditions: Full sun or part shade and well-drained soil

Height: To 4 feet tall

Zones: 4-9, depending on variety

Note: This plant can be invasive in some regions. Check local restrictions before planting.

Delphinium

Producing stately spires in shades of purple, blue, pink, and white, delphiniums are about as regal as garden flowers come. Unfortunately, taller types need staking to protect them from wind but they're well worth this bit of extra work.

Name: Delphinium varieties

Growing conditions: Full sun or part shade and well-drained soil

Height: 1-6 feet tall, depending on variety

Zones: 3-7, depending on variety

Cottage gardens offer informal charm and beauty. See the best cottage garden plants and cottage garden design ideas to start your own cottage garden.

Cottage Garden Style Ideas

Get inspired to create a cottage garden with these tips, tricks, and charming plants.

 

Dianthus

Filling cottage gardens with their sweet scents, dianthus varieties also offer pretty blooms in shades of pink, red, and white.

Name: Dianthus varieties

Growing conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

Height: To 2 feet tall

Zones: 3-10, depending on variety

Foxglove

This woodland biennial reliably produces beautiful upright spikes of bell-shape flowers in shades of purple, pink, and white. Note: While most common foxgloves are biennial, they often self seed and appear each year in the garden.

Name: Digitalis varieties

Growing conditions: Partial sun and moist, well-drained soil

Height: 2-6 feet tall, depending on variety

Zones: 3-8, depending on variety

Hollyhock

Among the tallest of perennials, hollyhocks bear flower spikes up to 8 feet tall. They bloom in a wide range of shades -- from nearly black to red, purple, yellow, and white.

Name: Alcea rosea

Growing conditions: Full sun and moist, well-drained soil

Height: 4-8 feet tall, depending on variety

Zones: 3-9

Hydrangea

A shrub of incomparable beauty, hydrangeas produce large clusters of pink, blue, or white flowers in early summer. They're great for cutting, if you can bear to take them out of your garden.

Name: Hydrangea macrophylla

Growing conditions: Partial sun and moist, well-drained soil

Height: To 6 feet tall

Zones: 6-9

Iris

Iris offer stunning blooms (many are wonderfully fragrant) that come in a rainbow of colors and sizes. Our favorites are the Siberian types with their grassy leaves and graceful flowers.

Name: Iris varieties

Growing conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

Height: 3 feet tall

Zones: 4-9

Lavender

A beautifully ornamental herb, lavender bears fragrant foliage and flowers. The blooms typically appear in shades of violet and white and are wonderful for drying and using in sachets and other craft projects.

Name: Lavandula varieties

Growing conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

Height: 1-2 feet tall

Zones: 5-8, depending on variety

Lady's Mantle

This great perennial offers sprays of chartreuse blooms perfect for cutting. The foliage is wonderful, too, especially when it catches early morning dewdrops.

Name: Alchemilla mollis

Growing conditions: Part shade and well-drained soil

Height: 1-2 feet tall

Zones: 4-7

Peony

With their petal-packed blooms, peonies are some of the most romantic plants. They not only look great, but they bear a wonderful fragrance. And they're virtually pest free and quite drought tolerant.

Name: Paeonia varieties

Growing conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

Height: To 5 feet tall, depending on variety

Zones: 3-8, depending on variety

Perennial Geranium

There are a wealth of geraniums perfect for cottage gardens. 'Johnson's Blue' is among the most common; it offers beautiful blue-purple flowers in early summer.

Name: Geranium 'Johnson's Blue'

Growing conditions: Full sun or part shade and well-drained soil

Height: To 18 inches tall

Zones: 4-8

Phlox

One of the most brilliant plants of the late-summer garden, phlox produces stunning clusters of white, pink, lavender, and red blooms that bear a delightful fragrance.

Name: Phlox paniculata

Growing conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

Height: To 4 feet, depending on variety

Zones: 3-8

Sweet William

Another biennial that typically self-seeds, sweet William produces beautiful clusters of fragrant blooms in early summer. They're great for cutting, and they attract hummingbirds and butterflies.

Name: Dianthus barbatus

Growing conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

Height: To 2 feet tall

Zones: 3-9, depending on variety

Violet

With their edible and fragrant blooms, violets are among the most charming flowers for the cottage garden. These cool-weather lovers start in spring and often bloom again in fall.

Name: Viola varieties

Growing conditions: Partial to full shade and well-drained soil

Height: To 1 foot tall

Zones: 4-8, depending on variety

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